January 29, 2016

F TROOP BACK TO NORMAL:

With Donald Trump Away, Jeb Bush Comes Alive (JOHN CASSIDY, 1/29/16, The New Yorker)

For two blissful hours in Des Moines, on Thursday night, with Trump having opted to skip the latest televised debate and hold a rally across town, the other Republican candidates and their backers were allowed to pretend that this world was a reality. Spared the threatening and unpredictable presence of the Fifth Avenue political destroyer, the Republicans did something very old-fashioned. They staged a regular political debate, with few theatrics or moments of high drama.

Not that it wasn't interesting. For people who are actually interested in politics, rather than in Trump's antics, the debate provided some fascinating hints as to how the G.O.P. race might have unfolded in his absence. Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio competed for the title of conservative standard-bearer; the three current or former center-right governors in the race--Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, and John Kasich--sought to breathe new life into their moribund candidacies, and one of them, Bush, might even have succeeded. In offering up a more inclusive version of Republicanism than many of the others, and sounding more confident than on past occasions, he had his best night of the campaign. 

Posted by at January 29, 2016 4:07 PM

  

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